Quick DVD Review – ‘Jumanji’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Over Christmas 2021, I’ve been watching some of my Christmas presents on Blu-ray, including ‘Space Jam’, ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ and the two ‘Jumanji’ films ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and ‘The Next Level’. I greatly enjoyed seeing those movies on Blu-ray again over the Christmas period. 🙂

Before revisiting the two latest ‘Jumanji’ films though, my parents and I revisited the original ‘Jumanji’ 1995 film with Robin Williams on DVD. It was great to check out the film again and it got us in the mood for what ‘Jumanji’ would be like before we watched the 2017 and 2019 films via Blu-ray.

‘Jumanji’ is based on the picture book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The author also wrote the books ‘The Polar Express’ and ‘Zathura’. It’s interesting to check out the 1995 film as a film adaptation of the picture book. I vaguely recall watching the ‘Jumanji’ animated TV series as a kid. 🙂

In the film, a supernatural board game releases jungle-based hazards upon its players with every turn they take. Alan Parrish, as a boy in 1969, plays the game with his childhood friend Sarah Whittle before he gets sucked into the game itself. 26 years later, Judy and Peter get to play the board game.

Judy and Peter Shepherd unwittingly free the now-adult Alan in order for him to continue playing the game in 1995. They soon locate the also now-adult Sarah in order to finish the game and reverse the destruction caused by the animals and strange jungle characters that have escaped the game. 😀

It came as a surprise to me that Joe Johnston was the director of the 1995 film. As well as directing ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ in 1989, he also directed ‘The Rocketeer’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. It’s so incredible to find how much Joe Johnston has come along in terms of being a film director.

What’s intriguing about the 1995 film is that the players have the jungle coming out of the game with animals like rhinos, elephants and such. This is a contrast to the 2017 and 2019 films where the players go inside the game where the jungle is. The TV series explored more of the jungle too, I believe.

As well as Robin Williams, the film also features Bonnie Hunt as Sarah Whittle. I’ve seen Bonnie Hunt in a number of things over the years, including the first two ‘Beethoven’ films and the ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ films. She’s also voiced characters for animated films like the two latest ‘Toy Story’ films.

It was nice to see Kirsten Dunst as Judy Shepherd in the film. This was before Kirsten Dunst starred in ‘Small Soldiers’ as well as playing Mary Jane Watson in the original ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy with Tobey Maguire. And I still wish that she made a little appearance in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’. 😀

There’s Bradley Pierce as Peter Shepherd, Judy’s brother. It was a shock when Peter started turning monkey-like in the film. There’s Jonathan Hyde who plays Samuel Alan Parrish, Alan’s father from 1969; as well as Van Pelt, the big game hunter from Jumanji that wants to kill Robin Williams as Alan.

I’m surprised Jonathan Hyde played two characters in the film. I didn’t realise he played the game hunter character as well as the dad. There’s also David Alan Grier as Carl Bentley, a police officer who previously worked at Alan’s dad’s shoe factory and there’s Bebe Neuwirth as Nora Shepherd. 😀

Incidentally, Bebe Neuwirth would reprise her role as Nora in ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’. I didn’t realise she cameoed in that film having not seen the 1995 film for a long time. I found the action set pieces featured in the film really exciting. I still found myself laughing at certain moments in the film.

It was great to check out the 1995 ‘Jumanji’ film again. The performances of the cast led by Robin Williams are still very good and I found the action and the humour of the film very engaging. It’s no wonder that ‘Jumanji’ spawned two more films and hopefully a fourth film will be made very soon. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


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